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League pooh-poohs lockout insurance ruling

DeMaurice Smith

Publicly, the NFL predictably is maintaining a stiff upper lip in the immediate wake of an adverse ruling in the “lockout insurance” case.  Privately, the league surely is having trouble controlling an altogether different orifice.

“As we have frequently said, our clubs are prepared for any contingency, this decision included,” the league said in a statement posted by Greg Aiello on his Twitter page.  “Today’s ruling will have no effect on our efforts to negotiate a new, balanced labor agreement.”

Yeah.  Right.

It’s a huge factor.  It’s real leverage for the union, something the union hasn’t really had.  Until now, the league has had the union over a barrel, threatening to take football away from the players and the fans until the players cry, “Uncle!”  Now, the players know that a lockout lasting into the season will hurt the owners as much or more, since the money needed to service the debt will have to come from somewhere, and it possibly won’t come from the networks.

After months of losing, the players are winning.  And some of the folks on the owners’ side of the table would be wise to drop the hubris and start treating the players like partners again, instead of like employees.

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40 Responses to “League pooh-poohs lockout insurance ruling”
  1. jleimer says: Mar 1, 2011 7:03 PM

    This decision today has made the negotiations very interesting as now both sides are going to be in deep financial trouble if a lockout occurs. With that said the battle in the courts is far from over.

  2. luvmesumfootball says: Mar 1, 2011 7:06 PM

    Mike,

    When do you realistically see the new cba in place by ? Any idea ?

  3. stataddict says: Mar 1, 2011 7:07 PM

    I understand that many want to consider the players as partners, but in every business that I’ve ever run, the partners:

    Share cost of overhead (including new construction)

    Share liability in the case of a loss (players are guaranteed a positive revenue)

    Without those two items actually being shared, it isn’t a partnership.

  4. rpiotr01 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:09 PM

    Players aren’t partners, they ARE employees. They sign employment contracts and get paid no matter what.

    The league has every right to appeal. This judge Doty clearly has a bias and has no business ruling on this matter.

  5. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 1, 2011 7:13 PM

    Last paragraph says it all.

  6. skylark70455 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:20 PM

    God willing… this is the last ruling we ever have to hear regarding the NFL from that Minnesota @sshat Doty.

  7. abshire22 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:21 PM

    So glad to see you haven’t taken sides.

  8. digd13 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:22 PM

    @rpiotro1 your right they are employees. But those employees make the game. With no employees no game. Goes hand in hand. But why should the owners still get paid with no game?

  9. sdboltaction says: Mar 1, 2011 7:22 PM

    If I cared any less, I’d be dead. Whatever it takes for NFL action, do it. Freaking pansies.

  10. scytherius says: Mar 1, 2011 7:34 PM

    @rpiotr01

    Standard corporate BS. You never were an atty where you? I was for 30 years. Just because a judge rules a certain way has little to no bearing on whether or not he has a bias. The League has CONSTANTLY violated Labor Law. You do that, you get ruled against every time. That is not bias, that is applying the law.

    Why you people side with whiny billionaires who will screw everything you every hope to have, or need, for a dime is utterly beyond reason.

  11. madtolive5 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:46 PM

    1.) How does Doty Clearly have a bias?
    2.) The players are partners, without the most talented players agreeing to play, the NFL would not be popular. It would go back to the 1930’s when owners and players made no money and the NFL WAS a risk. Today is not a risk. Any owner of an NFL team that can not turn a profit, has no business owning a team.

    The real risk takers are the players, who are fairly compensated. There is no reason to change the status quo.

    This is just owners greed.

  12. snoop24 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:50 PM

    I hope they are out all year. The best part about it is nobody will ever care who won the last Super Bowl before the big Lockout. Poor Green Bay, it meant nothing.

  13. smacklayer says: Mar 1, 2011 7:59 PM

    Owners have more money in the bank than player. Players will cave first. So what is JJ can’t pay his mortgage? Is the bank going to reposses it and get a different team to play there. The bank will get paid when Jerry does.

  14. hail2tharedskins says: Mar 1, 2011 8:01 PM

    You really think this changes anything? It was nothing more than a pre-approved low-interest loan. Gee, where else can billionaires with a lot of assets go to get loans? Oh yeah, these things called banks! The owners will always be able to raise capital during a lockout with or without tv network revenue.

    All this ruling did was ensure that the NFL will make damn sure Doty has to oversight again, in other words the NFL will allow the current agreement to expire!

  15. villagoo says: Mar 1, 2011 8:07 PM

    the players are employees, mike. i don’t see any players putting down hundreds of millions to purchase teams and stadiums…this union is just like any other, except the fact that most employees already make millions.

  16. rpiotr01 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:19 PM

    digd13,

    You are right, NFL players are special employees in that they are not easily replaceable. That gives them a lot of leverage. But it’s not like the NFL is just getting free money from that TV deal. It’s part of a longer term extension, not a special one year deal. If there’s no football next year they have to pay that money back eventually.

    scytherius,

    Nope, not an attorney, just a corporate paralegal for almost a decade. I know that’s far down the totem pole from being a real lawyer, but we’re also the ones who make sure that abominable spelling/ grammar errors such as “You never were an atty where you?” never see the light of day in front of a client.

    But corporate BS? I don’t think so. The players got a sweetheart deal last time around. They know it. The league knows it. Everyone knows it. I see nothing greedy about them trying to get some back. Sure a few franchises are making good money. Most aren’t and many are losing.

    And that’s the heart of the matter. Despite all the tactics and legal threats and PR stunts, at the end of the day the league is in the right.

    And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the players making good money for what they do. There are only so many humans on the planet who can do what they do, they undergo significant physical risk and deserve to be compensated handsomely for it. But the current structure will not stand. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. That number is going to come down, the only question is how much earth the PA is willing to see scorched before it happens.

  17. jfluke65 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:23 PM

    They get one, very expected favorable ruling, and the players are now winning? Ha!
    I’ll bet the owners are a lot better at managing money than the players, and will be just fine.

  18. txchief says: Mar 1, 2011 8:32 PM

    This piece was written by a biased moron. THe players are in every definition employees and not “partners.” Partners purchase an interest in an organization and share financial risks and dividends. The NFLPA wants a guaranteed dividend with no risk beyond the normal activities associated with employment.

    If the players and the NFLPA are such astute businessmen, they should just go ahead and form their own league. Otherwise,they might consider the CFL or arena league. The players and their representatives fail to realizewhat a priviledged position they already have.

    The NFLPA has absolutely no right to audit the books of their employers. They would only like the information to demagogue the owners.

  19. dolphinphan says: Mar 1, 2011 8:35 PM

    Judge David Doty is a good guy

  20. Uncle Leo says: Mar 1, 2011 8:35 PM

    Do you honestly think that the companies that financed these stadiums are going to foreclose on the likes of Jerry Jones, Bob McNair, etc?
    Their collateral would be an empty stadium, which they would have to pay the upkeep on.
    No, they will just restructure the loans, as they know that the NFL will be back.

  21. satanphoenix says: Mar 1, 2011 8:36 PM

    @stataddict

    I take it the fact that your employees have to find new jobs (something not easy these days, especially if you are over 40) if you screw up isnt a risk factor they share with you?

    Thean again some (including all the so called tea party people) probably find viewing emplyees as as partners a bit communist anyway, right?

  22. stanklepoot says: Mar 1, 2011 8:49 PM

    stataddict says: Mar 1, 2011 7:07 PM

    I understand that many want to consider the players as partners, but in every business that I’ve ever run, the partners:

    Share cost of overhead (including new construction)

    Share liability in the case of a loss (players are guaranteed a positive revenue)

    Without those two items actually being shared, it isn’t a partnership.
    _____________________
    1. the players do share a percentage of the overhead costs in the form of credits granted to the owners. those credits are the $1 billion the owners get off the top before the revenue is divided. That money is earmarked for everything from subsidizing new stadium construction to paying the travel expenses of league workers.

    2. Show me one team that has experienced a loss. Owning an NFL team (even a bad one) is one of the only investments seemingly guaranteed to increase in value. Also, players assume rather large risks to their body and mental function. That’s not an insignificant risk. If you require that everything be in financial terms, then how much do you think former athletes have paid in medical costs for injuries and ailments related to damage done to their bodies during their playing days.

    3. The owners and players are not partners in the classical small business sense in that the players do not have an ownership stake in the company. They are partners, however, in the sense that both sides have agreed to pool their skills so that the NFL can generate a greater amount of revenue. The players produce the product, and the owners package, market, and distribute it. In return, both sides have agreed to share the revenue the NFL brings in. So, the players have no ownership stake in the teams, but they do have a claim to a sizable percentage of the league’s revenue.

  23. 2011to2020lions says: Mar 1, 2011 8:50 PM

    JUST GIVE US FOOTBALL PLEASE!!!!!

  24. stull60060 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:54 PM

    The owners are the employers and the players are the employees. If the players don’t like what they’re doing for a living they can go get a job doing something else. If their million dollar salaries and benefits aren’t enough they can go do something else. If the owners had any balls they would let the players walk and see how they do in the real world. Cancel the whole season. No one forces you to play football. The league minimum salary is over the $300k range. Most are making much more than that. They get Cadillac health care plans and a pension on top of the millions in salary. They can pay for their own health insurance and don’t need a pension with the millions they make. Yet they cry poverty. As far as I’m concerned, the owners pay them way too much already. Again, the players are not partners, they’re employees.

  25. mayfieldroadboy says: Mar 1, 2011 8:57 PM

    Since when has an attorney not tried to screw every one, every thing hoped for, or every thing needed; and are there not attorneys on each side? Don’t hand me the bulldung about whining billionaire owners breaking labor laws while seated at the table of the whining millionaire employees (and yes, they are employees; when was there ever a collective bargain between partners…and one partner do not get a guaranteed pay-day while the other partner shoulders all the financial risk.) And as I have stated previously: Lerner will not lose a dime as long as people use mastercard; Kraft will never lose a wink of sleep as long as people buy food; Johnson will never have an excedrin headache as long as babies need powdered and kids cut their fingers, etc, etc, etc. There is labor unrest because buttholes like Doty insert their progressive attitudes into the mix. Let a panel of judges from different regions of the US sit in judgment of these hearings.

  26. suhperman says: Mar 1, 2011 9:11 PM

    hehehe, the title says pooh-pooh

  27. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 1, 2011 9:41 PM

    villagoo says: Mar 1, 2011 8:07 PM

    ” i don’t see any players putting down hundreds of millions to purchase teams and stadiums ”

    I don’t see owners doing this either, unless by “owner” you mean taxpayers.

  28. FoozieGrooler says: Mar 1, 2011 9:46 PM

    rpiotr01 says: Mar 1, 2011 8:19 PM

    “Sure a few franchises are making good money. Most aren’t and many are losing. ”

    Name one franchise that LOST money last year. Just one – with sources please.

  29. chatham10 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:07 PM

    I say, shut the season down and see who wins that deal after a year of no revenue for anybody.The lawyer who runs this site please explain to me ” if the current CBA was such a good deal for both parties then why did the owners have the power to end this agreement early” The only people who are going to win in this mess are the Lawyers making the big bucks and that is sad.

  30. bchampeau says: Mar 1, 2011 10:12 PM

    I have a great idea in this whole ordeal…how about the owners and players decide collectively to SHRINK the pie and pass some of the savings on to the fans. Every year the owners make more, the players make more, and now they’re both fighting for ways to continue to make more in the future. What do the fans get in all of this? We get higher ticket prices every year. We get higher concession costs every year. I remember buying jerseys 10 years ago for $40, now a replica is $75. For the most part fans will continue paying higher prices because we just want to watch football every fall, but I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing how owners and players are agonizing over how to share $9,000,000,000 of revenue. That’s a nine with nine zeros after it. How about giving something back to the people that make this “problem” even exist for both the owners and the players. Listening to a bunch of billionaires argue with a bunch of millionaires on how to divide more money than 99.9% of the population can even fathom is sickening, and despite all this we’ll still show up every Sunday next fall and cheer on both of these groups. I hope they really keep this in mind while they “figure things out.”

  31. zaggs says: Mar 1, 2011 10:17 PM

    Doty’s biased can be seen in the fact he was perfectly willing to leak what was damaging to the owners, but not leak anything put forth by the owners. Keep in mind Doty has met privately with the head of the union and his attorneys before. If he is supposed to be impartial, why take private meetings with only one side?
    As for the “lockout insurance”. Its not insurance and only a complete moron would assume so. The league has to pay that money back if there are no games. Thats not insurance. Its a loan.

    “FoozieGrooler says:

    I don’t see owners doing this either, unless by “owner” you mean taxpayers.”

    Guess you haven’t looked at the new meadowlands stadium then have ya?

  32. wtfru2 says: Mar 1, 2011 10:17 PM

    His decision is not binding until it has gone through the appeal process. How many months will that take? If they get a stay or an injunction from enforcing this decision it could last as long as the Star Cap decision from 2 years ago. Ha how fun…..

  33. the1vito says: Mar 1, 2011 11:41 PM

    While it does shift the leverage, I don’t see what’s to stop owners from simply borrowing the money they need to get through the lockout. I know lenders have been pretty tight, but I’m sure there would be banks willing to lend money in anticipation of the billions the owners will get once play resumes and those TV contracts begin to pay out again. I guess the only problem would be the owners’ complaints about not making enough / losing money, which is the thing most likely to discourage a bank from lending.

  34. childressrulz says: Mar 2, 2011 1:08 AM

    snoop24 says: Mar 1, 2011 7:50 PM

    I hope they are out all year. The best part about it is nobody will ever care who won the last Super Bowl before the big Lockout. Poor Green Bay, it meant nothing.
    _____________________________________
    You have got to be kidding me! No football next year would just mean the packers are the superbowl champs for two years retard.

  35. 8man says: Mar 2, 2011 6:55 AM

    “start treating the players like partners again, instead of like employees.”

    Partners! Partners? Uh, the players ARE employees. And there are thousands of more potential employees playing college and high school ball right now.

  36. surshot says: Mar 2, 2011 7:02 AM

    bchampeau

    where can you get a replica jersey for $75. I’ve seem them for over twice that amount

  37. mrone50 says: Mar 2, 2011 7:35 AM

    rpiotro says:

    “Players aren’t partners, they ARE employees. They sign employment contracts and get paid no matter what.”

    ————————————————————–

    Maybe that coment should not have seen the light of day. Players do NOT get paid no matter what. If you actually read the judges ruling, it mentions something about an agreement between the players and owners. That something is, any money generated in NFL revenue would benefit both players and owners. When the owners chose to use the TV money as bargaining leverage, they used the money to benefit themselves and to unbenefit the players. They broke the agreement. Partners make agreements on money shared.

  38. toe4 says: Mar 2, 2011 9:16 AM

    People posting here,

    Please stop pretending the NFL is a typical business and the owners and players have a typical employer/employee relationship.

  39. smc2783 says: Mar 2, 2011 2:32 PM

    Players are employees, period.

    Yes, the NFL is a uniquely successful operation (for owners and players) but this does not change the meaning of “employer” and “employee”. The amount of money involved does not matter in respect to the definition of these words. You cannot redefine these words simply to paint the argument in a way that supports your personal opinions on the matter.

    Any argument to the contrary either illustrates a severe lack of understanding as to the nature of business, or a socialist/union perception that businesses and their employees are partners. The latter is simply just not true in a free-market capitalist society, sorry to break it to you.

  40. CKL says: Mar 2, 2011 2:35 PM

    zaggs says: Mar 1, 2011 10:17 PM

    Doty’s biased can be seen in the fact he was perfectly willing to leak what was damaging to the owners, but not leak anything put forth by the owners. Keep in mind Doty has met privately with the head of the union and his attorneys before. If he is supposed to be impartial, why take private meetings with only one side?
    As for the “lockout insurance”. Its not insurance and only a complete moron would assume so. The league has to pay that money back if there are no games. Thats not insurance. Its a loan.

    “FoozieGrooler says:

    I don’t see owners doing this either, unless by “owner” you mean taxpayers.”

    Guess you haven’t looked at the new meadowlands stadium then have ya?
    ___________________________
    That’s a good point on Doty…I would hope it isn’t the whole story. Regardless of whether I agree with or am happy with the result of the decision I hope it was handled FAIRLY.

    As for privately financed stadia, I would add Kraft’s as well but anytime anyone posts anything related to the Pats, Foozie whines about cheaterscheatingwahwahwah.

    Mayfieldroad boy,
    Kraft isn’t related to Kraft Foods he is the CEO/Pres or something of what was Rand paper. Think the name is different now though, they merged with another paper/packaging co.

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